Longtime SCC instructor left impact on students, faculty

Dr. Jim Isemann, a history professor at Southeast Community College for more than 20 years, died Aug. 11 after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. Isemann impacted many students and staff over his long tenure at the College.

“As a non-traditional student at Southeast Community College, he was my professor in my very first college class,” said former student Stephanie Matejka. “I took every single one of his history classes as my electives. He took great care with each and every one of his students. His classes were packed with information and perspective.”

Arts & Sciences Dean Dr. Carolee Ritter echoed those sentiments and said he also had an impact on many middle and high school students over the years as he helped coordinate the National History Day competition. He also was well-respected by his colleagues as he was elected president of the Lincoln Campus Faculty Association.

“Jim was one of those people whose face lit up every time he entered the room,” Ritter said. “He made people feel like he was happy to see them. Collegial, friendly and warm, Jim always showed a genuine interest in those around him.”

“Jim loved to engage with students and faculty and staff,” added fellow faculty member, Bob Zetocha. “In 2007-2008, he and I started pick-up basketball games after our classes on late Wednesday afternoons at the SCC gym. It was a great opportunity to connect with students.”  

Isemann was married to fellow SCC instructor Nikki Isemann. The two met in high school in St. Charles, Missouri, and were together for 36 years. Jim also leaves behind two adult daughters, Heidi and Ellie.

“I’m forever grateful for Jim and Nikki’s encouragement,” Matejka added. “I’m not sure I would have had the confidence to pursue more higher education without them.”

The family is requesting that memorial donations be made to either the SCC Global Education Scholarship in support of the SCC Study Abroad program at, or the Rosenbaum GBM Research Fund which supports innovative solutions specifically for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive type of brain tumor


Andrea Gallagher
Communications Specialist